I know I said that Five for Friday would talk about five of my favorite things, but I’m going to push the boundaries and talk about my favorite tips too. And really, following the tips in this post will save you money, and saving money is definitely a favorite thing of mine.
Five Tips to Stop Wasting Food!
1. Keep an inventory list on the outside of your fridge. Mine lists (by category) all of the items in my freezer. Since I’m a big fan of buying meats in bulk, I often forget (or loose) the contents in the nether regions of my freezer. With this list I can easily see what I have without digging through a freezing cold box. Eventually, I’d like to move this to a small dry erase board, but when I went searching for one at the $1 Spot at Target, they were all Star Trek themed. M would have loved it…me, not so much.
2. Make a stock scrap bag. I mentioned this in passing once before, but never really elaborated on what exactly my scrap bag is or what it does. I keep a gallon ziptop bag in the freezer and anytime I need just the ribs of celery, or half an onion, or have carrots that are quickly fading, or need to square off a sweet potato for fries, I take the scraps and throw them in this bag. Once it’s full, I’ll add it to the slow cooker with a little water and presto — instant vegetable stock. Or, if I have the carcass of a rotisserie or homemade roasted chicken, I’ll throw that in the slow cooker along with the vegetables and viola, chicken stock!
3. Mix your own spice blends. Nothing drives me nuts more than a recipe that calls for one or two teaspoons of a particular spice blend. There is no way I will use a full 3 ounce jar of greek seasoning before it has met its useful life. But, I almost always have the spices on hand to make a more useable amount of a custom seasoning blend. Greek seasoning, for example is oregano, thyme, basil, dried minced onion, dried minced garlic and marjoram. The only one I don’t have is marjoram, but I do have savory, so I add that instead. Taco seasoning is another easy spice blend to make: chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, paprika, ground cumin, salt, pepper. I bet you have all of those in your pantry! Yours will have much less sodium than the store bought packets too.
4. Store your snacks in air tight containers. Is it just me or are men physically incapable of properly closing up a snack bag? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached into a box of snacks only to find the bag open and the contents stale. Such a waste of money! Now, I store all of our snacks in these pop top containers and voila! Properly closed packages every time! Plus, I can see how much we have, so I know when it’s time to stock up on snacks again. I also use them to store all of our baking supplies so our flour and sugars are always fresh. They do a pretty good job keeping the brown sugar loose for a few weeks too.
5. Reinvent your leftovers. Since I work from home, most of the burden of eating leftovers falls on me. By the second meal, I’m pretty tired of whatever it is. But, turning the leftovers into a new dish keeps me interested and I can eat everything up before it spoils. The leftover fajitas veggies above were turned into a fajita salad bowl, a quesadilla, and mixed with some pasta and red sauce for a pepper-less sausage and peppers. They would have been great in an omelet too!
What are your favorite waste-not tricks?